, we are introduced to our protagonists, both human and alien alike, and the world in which they are drawn to one another despite their differences.
An Atrian and His Rescuer
The episode begins on September 14, 2014, also known as Arrival Day. Why the designation? Because that's the day the Atrians, the alien race featured in Star-Crossed, crash-land on Earth seeking refuge after fleeing their dying planet.
But all does not go according to plan when the Atrians arrive. They are greeted by members of Earthly law enforcement, and when one Atrian approaches the armed group, he is shot and a fight ensues.
But one little Atrian is told to run, and he escapes to a nearby shed on the property of little miss Emery Whitehall, a six-year-old girl, and her family. Emery finds him in the shed and brings him a blanket and food for a little while, before the little Atrian is eventually discovered when the military breaks in and finds him. When he tries to protect Emery, one of the men shoots him with something that I think just stuns him, but Emery believes has killed him.
School's in Session
So big surprise! The Atrian boy did not, in fact, die that day, and he becomes a member of the Atrian Seven, a group of teenagers who are going to be integrated into a high school after having been held in a government facility with their people for the past 10 years.
It is now 2024, and Marshall High School also happens to, conveniently, be the school that Emery attends following a four-year absence due to illness. She listens to the news about the integration on a television in the hospital room of her friend Julia, who is there for cancer treatment.
The integration program has drawn lots of protests from citizens, so things are a bit chaotic when Emery goes in for her first day. Her friend Lucas tries to show her the ropes, but she is paying little attention. I'd like to note that the show waits a long time to reveal his name and the names of several other characters during this episode, which is confusing and weird.
When the Atrian Seven show up, the other students do everything from openly mocking them to staring in awe. Emery gazes at a boy, who we later find out is her Atrian boy, from a balcony -- in case you didn't already catch on to the Romeo and Juliet connection here.
Hostile Learning Environment
So basically, there's all sorts of trouble at the school thanks to this integration program, and both the humans and Atrians are told the guards stationed in the school are there for their protection. But smaller, pettier stuff like the Atrians' lockers being tagged and both sides being quietly hostile to the other are not things armed guards can really stop.
There's a small argument over the Atrians not pledging allegiance to the American flag, which they were told they did not have to do, and I feel like the show is trying to maybe make a point about loyalties and allegiances here, but it's not done very well.
In the midst of all this, Emery meets another cute boy, Grayson, who is obviously interested in her. Check off the love triangle box for this show, folks. We also meet the Atrian boy's parents and learn that one of the girls in the Atrian Seven is also his sister. And all on the first day of school!
Invites and Intimidation
The next day, Emery is invited to a party by the apparent Queen Bee of Marshall High, Taylor, and approached by the Atrian boy of her dreams in the lunchroom. These interactions happen in the same place, around the same time and under scrutiny.
Emery reveals to the boy (whose name I still haven't caught by this point) that the club she's advertising is for students to visit sick patients and do arts and crafts with them in the hospital, which is where she was for the past four years thanks to an immune deficiency. One mystery solved.
A human student isn't pleased with the boy for talking to Emery and there's a bit of a confrontation there, but that becomes pretty commonplace pretty fast on this show.
When Emery visits Julia in the hospital again, her friend reveals that she's discontinuing treatment and going home. But Emery isn't about to give up hope. Rumor has it that the Atrians have some sort of magical healing herb, a Cyper (Syper? I'm going with Cyper), that could help Julia, so Emery decides to use her father's access pass (he's a bigwig when it comes to enforcement of the Atrians) to get them both into the Atrian Sector and obtain some of the herb.
It's determined pretty quickly that the girls don't belong there, and the Sector goes into lockdown. And who should happen to save the girls and smuggle them to a secret rooftop garden? Why, the mysterious Atrian boy, of course!
And the garden also happens to have Cyper! He tells them to take as much as they'd like, but then reveals that it's merely saffron, and sometimes their people sell it to gullible humans who believe it's something more. When he notices Emery and Julia's disappointment, he asks if they have a sick friend and is told about Julia being ill, and apologizes.
The Atrian Boy Who Lived
He also briefly shows off his stomach while handing Julia his over-shirt when he notices her shivering, and Emery sees a scar that she inquires after. He reveals that he got it on Arrival Day, and Emery realizes his identity as the little boy she saved 10 years prior.
When Emery says she thought he was dead, he says that technically his heart stopped beating, but it's cool because he has another one. Doctor Who-style, y'all. He also thanks Emery for being kind when so many have been cruel, which is sorta cute, I guess. But then it's almost curfew for the Atrians, so the two must depart and wait to meet and bond again.
Friction and Faith
The next day, there's a fight between the Atrian boy and a human boy after the human guy and his buddy get a little too friendly with the Atrian boy's sister. An Atrian Relations person, Gloria, who worked on the integration program with the boy's father, Nox, reprimands the Atrian.
The Atrian boy and his father later have a heart-to-heart while they are working in what I like to call the Secret Garden, about the current state of affairs of their relations with the humans. Nox has a lot of faith that things will work out. He also has a lot of faith in his son.
But enough about that. It's party time! The get-together Emery is invited to is the talk of the school, and the Atrians want to send a message and sneak in. Emery's Lover Boy decides to go too, and separately, the teens are able to be out of the sector for three hours for the party thanks to a fellow Atrian rigging their wristbands (which monitor their locations) to allow them to do so.
At the party, Grayson tries to put the moves on Emery, only to be interrupted by Taylor alerting everyone to a shocking scene in the woods nearby. A human boy, Brock, has been tied up and gagged by an Atrian, who announces to the assembled crowd that they are sick of being pushed around by the humans.
It's during this scene that the Atrian boy's name is revealed, and it's Roman. Which seems silly to me, because Rome is a city on Earth, and the name literally means "a citizen of the Roman Empire." So how did an Atrian end up with that name? On that note, how do any of the Atrians have English names? Did they adopt them when they were corralled into the Sector?
Anyway, Roman tries to stop the other Atrian, and ends up protecting Emery again in the ensuing confrontation, and the cops arrive. Emery makes her choice and runs off into the woods with Roman, much to the dismay of Grayson.
Roman and Emery run in the woods for a while (why does she keep her heels on?), before stopping and having a conversation about the nature of humanity. Emery swears that there are good people out there, and he claims to have only met one. It's her, of course, duh.
What follows is meant to be a romantic scene in which they press their hands together and gaze into each other's eyes, but when the two move in for a kiss, Emery's phone rings. Turns out, Julia is sick in the hospital and she has to go to her. Way to kill the mood.
Life and Death
When Emery arrives at the hospital, she finds that Julia is very, very sick. And Roman is very, very creepy because he follows her and watches her around doorways as she learns about and then processes this news.
At some point, everyone leaves Julia's hospital room, and Roman makes a huge decision. Apparently, the Cyper is a healing herb, but it requires that he insert it into his vein and draw out blood after the insertion to work as a healing agent. He then inserts this blood into Julia's veins to heal her. He does this while a very strange cover of "Age of Aquarius" plays, for the record.
Meanwhile, there's an argument in the Sector between Nox, who has figured out that Roman is missing, and the guy who changed the wristbands so the teens could sneak out. It leads to a confrontation between them and Emery's father and other law enforcement, and eventually to Nox protecting the other Atrian when shots are fired. Roman's father is killed in the crossfire by none other than Emery's father.
Back at the hospital, it appears a miracle has occurred, but when Emery spots a bit of the Cyper on the floor, she knows the truth. She hides it, luckily, because wow, shoddy move on Roman's part, and he creeps some more on her in the other room as the episode ends.
airs Mondays at 8pm on The CW.
(Image courtesy of The CW)